Playing Piano Between Wars

Helena Lipstadt was born in Berlin and lives in Los Angeles and Blue Hill, Maine. Lipstadt’s poems have been featured in Rattling Wall, Lilith, Bridges, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Medium and Common Lives, Lesbian Lives. Her writing has also appeared in the following anthologies: The Challenge of Shalom, From Memory to Transformation, and Every Woman I’ve Ever Loved: Lesbian Writers on Their Mothers, Lipstadt is the author of two chapbooks, Leave Me Signs and If My Heart Were A Desert. Her prose-poem Do Widzenia won silver in the Travelers Tales’ Solas Awards. Lipstadt has also been a writer-in-residence at the WUJS Institute’s Arad Arts Program in Arad, Israel, and at The Borderland Foundation in Sejny, Poland.

Playing Piano Between Wars

All it takes
is a tango.
I play for her
                          and she steps out.

A hungry woman
Deckle-edged, her slide
of cheek turned away.
                                 I look for her asleep,

awake, in concert halls,
tearooms, in hotels.
So many lovely chances.
                                 I hide behind

the black piano, offer golden scales
for her to climb from where
brother death has laid her.
                              Come, Mala, bring

your sister of no grave, your mother, lost.
Night after night I play for you,
conjure you,

[image: Lovers in Pink | Marc Chagall]

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